James Patrick Fahey
James Patrick Fahey was born March 17, 1922, in Clark, South Dakota. He served in the US Army in WWII, volunteering at the age of 19 because everyone else was enlisting, particularly after Pearl Harbor. He was stationed primarily in areas that had not seen much battle, as he toured in New Caledonia, French Unique Collectivity, Pacific Ocean. He worked in kitchen supplies as a quarter master, working his way up to Master Sergeant, which was as high as an enlisted member could go. He met Lucy, his future bride, in Manila in a night club one evening on tour.
Lucy had fled to Manila from Masbate, as her mother had remarried to an abusive man after the death of Lucy’s father. To save her mother and herself, Lucy went to Manila with a plan to procure a gun to kill her abuser, though the gun was stolen from the apartment she had been staying in.
The couple had to go through direct chain of command to request permission for their marriage. As a result of their interracial relationship, and desire to move back to South Dakota, they had to advance all the way up the chain of command to General MacArthur – the only one who would give consent to their nuptials. Lucy was only 16 or 17 years old when they met and they married when she was 18.
Moving back to South Dakota was traumatic for Lucy, especially with the language barrier and her broken English. James and Lucy lived in Edgemont due to James’s stationing, where he worked for the Igloo ammunition depot south of Edgemont around 1949. That first year in South Dakota, Lucy endured one of the worst blizzards in the Midwest. Being a native to the Philippine island Masbate, and growing up by the ocean and the jungle, Lucy had never experienced snow before and wondered why everything was so dead. That spring a dandelion popped up and she said it was the most beautiful thing she had seen.
Once home for good in South Dakota, James graduated from Black Hills Teacher College in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education. He coached eight-man football at Vale, South Dakota, and then at St. Pat’s in Sidney, Nebraska, and St. Martin’s, Sturgis, South Dakota. James was a teacher and a coach for over 30 years, most of it spent in the Catholic School System of Rapid City. He was the head football coach at Rapid City Cathedral, while also serving as head tutor for basketball and track athletes. James and Lucy unfortunately experienced the death of their infant daughter, Doris Jean, and she was placed in an infant burial in the National Cemetery, which is uncommon. James and Lucy preside next to Doris Jean to this day at the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota.
Written by Dyllynn Wasserburger